California Property Tax Laws and Regulations
Proposition 13 passed in 1978, limits the property tax rate to 1% of assessed value plus amounts required to repay any assessment bonds approved by the voters. Annual increases to the assessed value are limited to the inflation rate or 2%, whichever is less. There have been numerous propositions refining the details of Proposition 13.
California Propositions Affecting Property Tax
Proposition 13 Set the maximum general property tax rate at 1%, limited increases to the lesser of the inflations rate or 2%
Proposition 3 Transfer assessed value when property taken by eminent domain proceedings or condemnation
Proposition 8 Allows a reduction in assessed value due to a decline in value
Proposition 58 Exclusion for transfers between parents and children
Proposition 60 Senior citizen's replacement dwelling
Proposition 90 Senior citizen's replacement dwelling
Proposition 110 Exclusion for disabled residents
Proposition 193 Exclusion for transfers form grandparents to grandchildren
If the tax assessment is reduced because of a decline in value, the property assessment can climb as quickly as the assessed value in the future until it reaches the Proposition 13 value.
This applies to transfers within one county.
This applies to transfers between two different counties, both of which must have ordinances allowing the transfer.
If a person has transferred their tax assessment based on age they may later do a second transfer based on disability. If a transfer has been done based on disability, age can not be used as the basis for a later transfer.
Additional California Property Tax Information
Please see the California State Board of Equalization website at http://www.boe.ca.gov/proptaxes/prop-tax-rules.htm
Santa Clara County Property Taxes
The property tax for a home in Santa Clara County can be estimated by multiplying the purchase price by 1.25%. The property tax is 1% but there are typically 0.25% special assessments added.
To find which special assessments a property is currently subject to, go to:
Find the property you are interested in, then click the link under the column heading APN Suffix.
Santa Clara County publishes the special assessment tax rates at:
San Mateo County Property Taxes
One of the best summaries about San Mateo County property tax programs is at
Other California Property Tax Programs
California Williamson Act Program
The Williamson Act, also known as the California Land Conservation Act of 1965, enables local governments to enter into contracts with private landowners for the purpose of restricting specific parcels of land to agricultural or related open space use. This does not affect most Silicon Valley home purchasers but it may be of significant value to people wanting to have a significant vineyard, orchard, or garden to provide income as they approach or enter retirement. By entering a contract with local governments specifying they will not convert their land to development for housing or commercial buildings, significant property tax reductions might be achieved. Please visit my post at blog williamson-act-property-taxes for more details.